Friday, April 18, 2014

Because Of Mistakes! pt 15

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14

At about 10:05 on the same Monday morning, about the same time that Latham had a panic attack leading to his confessions to Brown, Chief Superintendent Martin rose from behind his desk and shut the door to his office, because Inspector Raymond had begun to shout most indiscreetly. As he settled back into his chair, Raymond had not interrupted or slowed down his screed: " -- because how do I know you're really with us on the Left? Because you say you are. That's all I've got to go on. How do I know that Smith had to be dealt with that way, for the greater good, for the sake of things I believe in? Again, your say-so is all I have."

"Raymond! Do please try to calm down. You ought to take a leave of absence, for the sake of those very same things you and I believe in. At least you finally stopped wearing Smith's watch on that great bloody platinum chain -- yes, I noticed that, of course I did, do you think others didn't?"

"One other person did, at least. He took it off me. Someone I know is my friend." At last Raymond had stopped shouting. Through the glass walls of his office Martin saw entirely too many policemen looking up from their desks in their direction.

"Good," he said to Raymond. "Be grateful you've got friends. Think of your friends, and how your behavior and appearance can affect their safety, and what they try so hard to do."

"You might want to be just a bit careful lecturing me about my friends' safety, Sir. You going to have me dealt with if I'm too troublesome, like you had Smith dealt with? Or maybe finally I'll just decide that I need to deal with you before you deal with me."

"Oh please don't be melodramatic! A bit ironic, while we're at it, you lecturing me right now about being careful. Do try to calm down and think for a moment, Raymond. My word is in fact not all that you have about Smith, you also have someone rather widely known as a Leftist, known not previously to have been in the pocket of the reaction, suddenly sporting suits costing a month of his salary apiece, and that expensive watch on the end of that bloody great platinum chain. In Smith's case, in fact, you have my word, plus his extremely erratic behavior."

"But about you, all I have is your word. You could well be a triple-agent passing yourself off as a double-agent, giving just enough help to me and others like me to keep the flow of information going the other way. Well, I'm tired of it. I want to be given more information about your network, I want to be reassured that the man I've been working for is who he says he is. Yes, I suppose the reasonable thing to do would be to take some sick leave, go to the country for a week or two, maybe to a spa, have you tell everyone I'd just needed a break, then come back and as if all I'd needed was a rest. Well sorry, but I just don't feel like being so reasonable. I think I've earned the right to make some demands. For all I know about you, you might be neither a double- nor a triple-agent, but an independent, pretending to be on everyone's side but really on no-one's side, merrily lying to everyone you meet and plundering everyone you can. Your great big house and your piles of cash are real, whether you swindled the reaction of them or not."

"Yes they are. I also have to constantly pretend to flatter and serve people I despise. I'm quite aware that almost everyone thinks I'm a corrupt lackey for them. I know that any day, I could be arrested, if the state suddenly decides to punish corrupt police officers, or I could be blown to bits by a bomb thrown by someone because he shares my ideals -- assuming I actually haven't been lying through my teeth to you for years. You ever consider things like that?"

"I have, I have," Raymond mumbled.

"Alright then. You've earned the right to be unreasonable. You've certainly earned the right to know more." Martin picked up the phone and told the operater, "House of Commons, terminal twelve... Yes, hello, it's Martin... Yes yes, Chief Superintendant Martin, please get me Griggs... Well then you'll just have to interrupt him. This is urgent... " As he apparently waited for someone named Griggs to come to the phone, Martin took a piece of paper and wrote on it. "Griggs. Put everything you've got on file 12 into a packet and bring it to my station... Well then you'll have to reschedule your meeting, and extend to everyone my sincere apologies for disrupting their schedules. Get it all into one package, write '12' on the package, and nothing else, bring it to my station, hand it to the sergeant at the front desk, tell him it's for me, and leave. Don't say anything about the package, don't say your name or where you work, don't engage in small talk if you happen to know the sergeant personally, don't hang about at all, just say the packet's for me and get out of there. Oh, and forget you ever knew anything about something called file 12. Thanks very much, Griggs." Martin hung up and handed Raymond the piece of paper he'd been writing on. There were several names on it, including the names of two Labour MP's. "Tell all of these people that I've widened your circle of confidential contacts. If they act like they don't know what you're talking about, it means you're visiting them before I've had a chance to tell them you were coming, in which case just have them telephone me. Now, file 12: that's a dossier on Smith. Plenty of things to investigate, and figure out how accurate I was when I talked to you about him. I am sorry, you know. It's a bloody awful thing, killing a friend."

"Killing anybody," Raymond said.

"You ever kill anyone in the Army?"

"I don't know if I did or not," Raymond said. "In a couple of different battles a bunch of us shot away at each other from hundreds of yards apart. I fired my rifle into the middle of some clouds of smoke, mostly. No idea whether I hit anyone or not. Never was in any hand-to-hand fighting."

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